Polly.IM Automates Twitter for SMBs

PaperG, which is behind the PaperG ad offering and PlaceLocal automated SMB display ad creation is announcing a new tool that helps SMBs confront the “Twitter firehose” in an automated way. The tool is Polly.IM:

Here’s a quick description of how it works:

Polly.IM monitors Twitter for mentions of the business, categorizes the tweet, and suggests an appropriate, customizable response. For example, the service can help businesses thank customers for checking-in, send coupons to new followers, and respond to comments about the business.

The business owner signs up and can create a range of responses (many are “templated”) to send to customers under various circumstances. These can be entirely customized as well. A customer mentions or checks in at a local business and an automated response goes out (not necessarily real time however): “Thanks for the mention, here’s 20% your meal on your next visit.”

PaperG CEO Victor Wong told me that Polly.IM is using semantic/natural language processing to figure out what’s being said and which of the pre-determined responses to use. Wong said that in a three-month test the there were relatively few errors or problem responses.

A human can always monitor Polly.IM and intervene to ensure that the right response goes out or to provide a very specific answer to an ambiguous or problem tweet. Wong told me that if the system truly doesn’t understand the essence of the statement it won’t respond.

Currently an account is only permitted to send one tweet per day — in the current free version, which clearly implies a premium version with enhanced capabilities and features. PaperG also envisions resellers and agencies using the tool. That is probably a more likely scenario than direct SMB adoption.

Polly.IM now joins a diverse group of products that includes Needium, LocalResponse, Roost and JoinLocal, all seeking to move beyond more passive “listening” into structured, proactive engagement and prospecting via social media. The big question that surrounds these products is the degree to which social media can be “outsourced” and the degree to which it needs to be actively managed by the SMB itself.

Update: Victor Wong corrected me on two points:

The Polly.IM beta was three weeks as opposed to three months. Regarding the accuracy of the system he said, “We have 0 reported inaccuracies (as opposed to relatively few) for live accounts. it’s possible we’ll encounter some as usage grows but I just wanted to point out how well the system is going. We stressed tested the algorithm with a pretty wide range of sample data before we released the product but this wasn’t with live accounts.”

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3 Responses to “Polly.IM Automates Twitter for SMBs”

  1. Jim Rudnick says at

    @Greg…thanks for the pointer here…went and signed up and will give this a trial for my SEO practice…
    one thing tho, I do not see a spot on the user Dashboard that shows me the transactions – i.e. if Polly responds to a tweet, I’d very much like to see the complete exchange, date etc….that’d help me gauge the value of this…rather than have to go to Twitter to scroll ‘n scroll looking for that transaction…. 🙂 Jim

  2. greg says at

    That’s a good suggestion for Victor Wong. Victor?

  3. Roger Lee says at

    Jim, Greg, this is the next feature that we are planning to roll out. I agree it is much needed, especially to demonstrate the value of Polly.IM. We’ll start by sending users a daily email with their response activity (opt-out is available), and soon we will have this information available in the Dashboard as well.

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